The building of the Southern Pacific railway line through the Central Valley in the 1890’s gave rise to a string of small towns in the Fresno area. Each one is unique — a distinct mix of styles and flavors that still generally favor the Old West. Selma, Sanger, and Kerman are the largest, with wide streets, downtowns supporting small and family businesses, and an atmosphere of quiet suburban living. Working families fill the parks on weekends, and evenings are peaceful and quiet under the stars.
The Central Valley has become one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions. Though it comprises less than one percent of the nation’s farmland, the Valley produces eight percent of its agricultural output, including cotton, poultry, tomatoes, grapes, apricots, and asparagus, as well as 70 percent of the world’s almonds; in all, more than 230 crops are grown here. Fresno County is the most productive agricultural county in the state (as well as in the nation); other leading industries include industrial machinery and equipment; printing and publishing; and stone, clay, and glass products.